News Archive

Five honored as 2013 Distinguished Alumni

Five outstanding Lamar University alumni were honored as 2013 Distinguished Alumni on Friday, Feb. 22, at the university's annual Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner. Honorees for 2013 were Wilford Flowers, Bob Jones, Jerry Reese, Bill Scott and Susan Williams Simmons.

Wilford Flowers was born in Port Arthur and is married to Simone Talma Flowers. He earned his B.B.A. in economics from Lamar University in 1972 and his J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law in 1976. Flowers served as assistant district attorney for Travis County, assistant attorney general for the State of Texas and first assistant county attorney for Travis County.

He was in private practice in Austin until Oct. 1, 1987, the date of his appointment as judge of Travis County Court at Law No. 6. As the result of the 1990 elections, Flowers began his first term as judge of the 147th District Court in Travis County on Jan. 1, 1991, serving until his retirement on Dec. 31, 2010. He now serves by assignment in Texas as a senior district judge.

In 1986, the Austin Young Lawyers Association named him Outstanding Young Lawyer; in 2009, he received the Outstanding Jurist Award from the Texas Bar Foundation; and in 2011, he received the Distinguished Lawyer Award from the Austin Bar Association.

Throughout his career, Flowers has been involved with numerous activities associated with his profession and the community: Criminal Justice Act Committee, U.S. District Court Western District of Texas; Austin Lawyers Care, vice president 1985-1987; American Inns of Court, Robert Calvert Inn, president 1996-1997; Austin Museum of Art board of trustees; Texas Center for the Judiciary board; life fellow, Texas Bar Foundation and Austin Bar Foundation; Court of Criminal Appeals Rules Advisory Committee member and chairman of the Criminal Justice Legislative Committee–Judicial Section of the State Bar of Texas; Lola Wright Foundation board.

Flowers serves as a mentor to Lamar University students through the Office of Student Advising and Retention Services.

A native of Port Arthur, Bob Jones graduated in 1973 with a B.S. in civil engineering focused on the environmental track and later earned his master of engineering degree from UT in Austin. The Texas Water Quality Board hired him in July 1973. Jones advanced with the state, eventually becoming chief engineer of the Construction Grants and Water Quality Planning Division. In 1976, Bob met and married Beth, his wife of 37 years. The couple has two children.

Recognizing the opportunity to create a business helping industry and local governments deal with the ever-increasing volume of environmental regulation, Jones left the state in 1982 with another engineer and formed the consulting company, Jones and Neuse. By the early 1990s, it was one of the largest independently owned environmental consulting companies in the state, with more than 250 employees in seven offices, including offices in Louisiana and Mexico. The company was purchased and merged with another engineering company, RMT.

Jones stayed with RMT for two years, and, in 1997, Jones and a friend formed another consulting company, JD Consulting. JDC grew to be a preferred provider of environmental services to many Fortune 100 process industries, including most of the big industries in Southeast Texas. In 2007, the London-based international consulting company RPS purchased JDC. Jones stayed with RPS until February 2012. In March, Jones formed RSJ Consulting, and began working part-time for some of his long-time industry clients.

During the last 30 years, Jones has been active in Boy Scouts, YMCA and Oak Hill Pony Baseball, as well as in numerous other Austin-area organizations. He serves on the College of Engineering Advisory Council, as a trustee of the Lamar University Foundation, and was a member of the Lamar Board of Regents from 1993 until 1996.

Jerry Reese is an entrepreneur who started his first business, Collegiate Diamonds, while he was still a student at Lamar University. Reese established Bo-Mac Construction Co. in 1966, the year he graduated from Lamar University with his B.B.A. in economics. He built the company into a hugely successful and diverse business enterprise, selling it in 2007.

Reese has been actively involved at Lamar University since his graduation, both as a donor and a volunteer. He currently serves on the following Lamar University boards and cabinets: Investing In The Future Campaign Cabinet, Lamar University Foundation board of trustees, College of Business advisory council, Friends of the Arts board, the Reese Construction Management advisory board. He and wife, Sheila, were the Le Grand Bal honorees in 2002 for their work with Friends of the Arts.

Reese has also been an active member of his community and has served on the boards of the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce, St. Elizabeth Hospital and the Art Museum of Southeast Texas. He is involved in dozens of business, cultural and social organizations in this region.

In 2007, recognizing the need for market-responsive programs that reflect Southeast Texas perspectives, Reese donated the funds to establish the construction management program at Lamar University. The unique nature of this program allows Lamar to provide construction management graduates with the education to compete nationally for careers in the field. The program was developed in response to regional market needs and as a way to further enhance the national reputation of Lamar University. The combination of Reese’s entrepreneurial spirit and his commitment to his alma mater led him to make his timely and generous contribution. The establishment of this program will have a lasting and profound effect on Lamar University.

Jerry and Sheila Reese live in Houston. They have three children and 11 grandchildren.

Bill Scott earned his bachelor of science in government at Lamar University in 1970 and has maintained strong ties with LU as a member of the Lamar University Investing in the Future Campaign Cabinet, Lamar University Foundation board of trustees and the College of Business board of advisors.

In 2008, Scott and his wife, Gay, were recognized by their alma mater as Le Grand Bal honorees. In 2010, the governor appointed Scott regent of The Texas State University System.

Beginning with the startup of the railroad construction business in the mid-1970s, Scott has for more than 30 years focused on identifying, developing, owning and operating marine bulk terminal facilities, serving companies including Shell Oil, Mitsubishi, ExxonMobil, Cemex, Lyondell Citgo Refining, Valero Refining, ConocoPhillips/PDVSA (Merey Sweeny, LP), Vulcan Materials, Martin Marietta Aggregates and Total Petrochemicals USA Inc. In addition, Scott created 50:50 joint venture companies with Mitsubishi Corp., Cementos Mexicanos and TCP Petcoke for the transportation, handling, purchase and export of solid bulk products to world markets.

In 2005, Trans-Global Solutions sold its bulk terminal handling assets to Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (KMP) and entered into a terminal development agreement between TGS Development LP and KMP to develop new bulk terminal assets along the Gulf Coast. TGS Development has successfully completed several terminal developments since 2005, including a bulk terminal completed in 2010 to serve the Total Refinery in Port Arthur.

Scott is active in numerous civic and charitable endeavors, including service as chairman of the board for the Jefferson and Orange County Board of Pilot Commissioners, past president of the Three Rivers Council Boy Scouts of America and as board member of the Foundation for Southeast Texas, Catholic Charities of Southeast Texas, the Symphony of Southeast Texas and the Texas Energy Museum. He and his wife of 32 years, Gay, have three children and one granddaughter.

Susan Williams Simmons is a 1968 graduate of Lamar University. She earned a B.S. in elementary education and, after graduation, taught at Fletcher Elementary in Beaumont until she founded her own retail operation, The Caterpillar, a children’s specialty store that she managed for eight years. She then moved on to serve as vice president in charge of decorating and space planning for CODA, the family construction company owned and operated by her husband, Jimmy.

For the last 25 years, Simmons has been a highly successful Beaumont Realtor. Her most dedicated efforts and greatest impact, however, have been with Lamar University. She has been actively involved in the life of Lamar since 1970, when her husband accepted his first teaching position at LU. The list of the areas that have benefited from herinvolvement and engagement are literally too numerous to name. She has served as a tireless ambassador for Lamar University throughout the community and has worked with faculty, students, alumni and friends of LU to enhance the impact of Lamar University on students’ lives and on the larger community.

Simmons has dedicated thousands of hours and used her vast knowledge of decorating and design to ensure that university remodeling and construction projects meet exacting standards. She has taken care to ensure that individual project designs and layouts have visual appeal and functionality and serve to complement the campus as a whole.

Her dedicated efforts have transformed the face of Lamar University and have helped to create an unmatched learning and living environment. She and Jimmy have three children and nine grandchildren.